I hate to say this, in case it changes, but I think I’ve found my favorite genre of movie. Scifi thrillers. I say this because all of the ones I’ve seen so far that I can think of have been pretty decent. They have shiny gadgets, decent plots, drama, not too much melodrama, and they tend to be more intellectual than your typical action-thriller.
I thought I’d put together a list of some scifi thrillers I’ve been watching lately in case anyone else is curious. I originally saw these on Netflix, but some of them have since been removed. Which isn’t fair, because I like to recommend them to other Netflix viewers.
This was, far and away, my favorite of the lot. Antitrust is a film about hackers, diabolical corporation, garage band programmers, and the Open Source movement. (By now you should know I’m a big fan of the Open Source Movement.) The technology was startling realistic. Imagine an evil Google ten years in the future. The plot was good, the character likable, and the stakes were high.And computers. Lots of.
The Net is like an older version of Antitrust. The technology is spiffy… for the nineties, which is when this computer was made. But despite the use of floppy discs, and other dead giveaways of the era, the technology was believable, and the film was enjoyable. It was dated, but not in an eye-rolling way. The MC of this film is a woman, which is a bit unusual in thriller-type films. The ending was set up perfectly, and pulled off brilliantly.
Paycheck is different from the previous two films in that it’s actually about memory. I love stories that deal with the concept of human memory, and this was no exception. The premise involves using memory wipes to eliminate the need for security clearance. If you’re hired to work on a high security project they pay you quite a bit of money to agree to let them wipe your memory of your time working there. So the main character of this film wakes up after six months, and parts of his life don’t make sense. He sent himself an envelope with a bunch of random objects that he didn’t recognize and that weren’t his. His money had been transferred out of his account mysteriously, leaving him broke. And someone is trying to kill him…
My dad actually recommended this one to me. He didn’t warn me, so I’ll warn you, it’s on the high side of PG-13. There’s quite a bit of blood and gore and violence and even some language. It’s not too much, but it is something to keep an eye out for if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing.
The plot of Limitless sounds a bit like Flowers for Algernon, but it’s really not. A writer at the end of his rope discovers a drug that allows him to use 100% of his brain instead of the limited 10% that humans normally function on. The plot thickens when other people start following him trying to get their hands on it, and he develops frightening side effects as a result of trying to maintain that kind of concentration continuously. The ending is surprising and brilliantly done. Completely unpredictable and satisfying.